Has anyone here used Voltaren Gel, and if so, what was your experience?

I recently found out that this NSAID preparation is now OTC, and before I spend $20 on a tube, I’d like to know what opinion anyone else here may have of it. I have a sore thumb joint from knitting, and if that may help, I’ll try it.

Ibuprofen helps, but I’d rather use a topical method if it might work.

Yes, I use diclofenac gel (generic) on my arthritis, prescription. It gives fantastic temporary relief. 1-4 hours, maybe more.

Take extreme care to not get it in your eyes- so you can’t really use it on hand pain.

It’s mostly my large thumb joints, not my fingertips.

Another crafter recommended an herbal remedy called Arnica, which I did try and it was worthless except as a bit of a moisturizer, and then I looked at the tube and found out it was homeopathic. :smack: In other words, it was basically a placebo.

Worth its weight in anecdote: I’ve used it recently. It seemed to give pain relief sufficient to get me to sleep. Nothing was worse in the morning and I suffered no zombification. 4.5 stars

I had a prescription for it a few years ago, when I’d suffered a knee injury from running. It worked very well, but I also remember that the doctor gave me very detailed instructions as to how to administer a very specific amount of the gel to my skin, which suggested to me that it was both (a) potent, and (b) something that you didn’t want to accidentally use too much of.

My mother uses it occasionally for back pain. She cannot apply it herself (small of the back), so it’s us who have instructions about applying only as much as needed and not as the go-to remedy (only when it seems like the pain is too bad for weaker remedies).

nearwildheaven, arnica is a perfectly fine herbal remedy when it’s not homeopathic. One of the reasons I hate homeopathy is that it lowers the worth of actual, working, traditional remedies.

I use it on my knees regularly, it’s not a long term solution but it eases the pain, I’ve never had, or heard of anyone having any side effects from it

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Since this is seeking personal experiences, let’s move this thread to IMHO (from GQ).

It worked only moderately on the tendonitis in my elbow; an herbalist-concocted cream of CBD oil, comfrey, calendula, clove oil, and myrrh worked better and smells great too.

I have used diclofenac gel on my tennis elbow which gave temporary relief. I did go for physical therapy which helped even more.

Arnica should not be used by those allergic to ragweed. My friend thought it would be nice to rub some on my arm. I learned very quickly that Arnica and I do not mix.

Voltaren is good stuff. Quite effective on the arthritis in my thumb.

I have arthritis at the base of my thumbs and nowhere else. Interestingly my mother had the same thing. My doctor prescribed Voltaren (it is OTC, but having a prescription meant no sales tax) but gave me no instructions. I rubbed it on the sore place and it had no effect that I could see. It sounds like it works for some, but not for me.

I have nerve pain in my feet. When it acts up, I find that voltaren helps but I don’t know if thats placebo or not. Generally topical NSAIDs don’t work on nerve pain from what I know of them.

Also when did voltaren become OTC?

Woot! Hopefully the price comes down, too. It’s cheap in Canada.

I have a prescription for for pain. It’s moderately effective, but it doesn’t play nicely with the athletic tape that i think is more effective.

The tube comes with crazy specific instructions about dose etc., But I talked to my doctor who said to just spread enough to cover the area that hurt.

The area that hurts me is smaller than the maximum dose, though. So you probably don’t want to use more than recommended. Still, I don’t think you have to use extraordinary care with it. Just smear some on, rub it in, and make sure to keep it out of your eyes and mouth.

My husband uses Voltaren, which provides mild relief of his symptoms, however, dear husband finds good old-fashioned Rub-a535 to work better, as well as P3 Cream, which can be readily found in Canadian Physiotherapy Clinics.

??? It’s used as an eye treatment. Is the care not getting it in your eyes is just so that you don’t accidentally overdose ???

In Aus, I can get a roller bottle version, so that you don’t get gel on your hands.

I can’t give a definitive answer without brand information, but it appears that diclofenac gel is 1% diclofenac and the eyedrops are 0.1% diclofenac - there’s a big difference right there. I wouldn’t put something 10x too concentrated in my eyes. To give a little context, if you jack the gel concentration up to 3%, you have Solaraze, which is used to “burn off” actinic keratoses. This can make a hell of a mess of your skin, as I know from experience - so in re diclofenac and eyes, I’d be duly cautious.

The various NSAID analgesic gels are, in my experience (diclofenac, ibuprofen - also piroxicam, but that’s a different story) reasonably effective, but not as effective as taking the tablets. On the other hand, you could miss out on some of the potential side effects, as systemic absorption is relatively low.


I found it helpful, but start sparingly–I found it itched if I used too much.

My wife uses Voltaren Gel Extra strength all the time, she says it gives great relief. And Extra strength only, the regular strength is useless for her.

The FDA announced that it would be going OTC a week or so ago. I’m not sure if it’s yet available for sale OTC, however.